WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW... ?
Excerpt from Associated Press
TRAUNSTEIN, Germany - A man of deep personal faith who choked up as he delivered the homily at Pope John Paul II’s funeral, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger also has alienated some Roman Catholics with his zeal in enforcing church orthodoxy.
And on those issues, the new Pope Benedict XVI is immovable.
Even as the cardinals who elected him prayed before the conclave, Ratzinger urged them to cling to church tradition and warned about the dangers of abandoning it.
“Having a clear faith, based on the creed of the church, is often labeled today as a fundamentalism,” he said Monday. “Whereas relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed and ’swept along by every wind of teaching,’ looks like the only attitude acceptable to today’s standards.”
“We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as for certain and which has as its highest goal one’s own ego and one’s own desires,” he warned.
My question: Is this what the world needs now?
My answer: No, not really. I don't see it as being healthy when a strict religious fundamentalist is the leader of something like a billion people. I know I wouldn't feel comfortable at all if the world's adherents to Islam united under one fundamentalist leader... would you?
With the possible exception of Northern Ireland, I don't see Catholic fundamentalists behaving like Islamic fundamentalists in the way that some of the Islamists are using terrorism around the world. Nonetheless, I still find myself wondering what will happen as a result of the conclave vote. If Benedict XVI is a charismatic type, he might get a whole lot of American Catholics emotionally whipped up, making it harder for some Democratic candidates to win elections here in the U.S. due to problems around the issues of abortion, homosexuality, women's rights, and birth control...
To me, electing Ratzinger doesn't look like a particularly healthy move... not only for the whole world but also for the Catholic church itself, considering that Ratzinger was a divider, not a uniter of Catholics in his home country. He could wind up dividing the church worldwide because many Catholics (many American Catholics, anyway) don't seem to like the hardline approach to their religion.
We all saw the anger that boiled up in this country during the Schiavo case, and all of that pro-life anger wasn't just a conservative phenomenon. Just the same, religious conservatives in the U.S. are probably jumping up and down, clapping their hands with glee at Ratzinger's election. If not, maybe they should be... the more Christian fundamentalists in the country, the better for right-wing candidates at election time, or so it would seem.